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Dr. Federico Cugurullo
Ussher Assistant Professor, Geography


Federico Cugurullo is Assistant Professor in Smart and Sustainable Urbanism at Trinity College Dublin. His research is positioned at the intersection of urban geography, political philosophy and experimental urbanism, and explores how ideas of sustainability are cultivated and implemented, with a focus on projects for smart and eco-cities.

He is currently researching how artificial intelligence (AI) is impacting on urban governance and planning, thereby influencing the sustainability of cities.

Federico has done extensive empirical research in the Middle East and Southeast Asia where he has investigated the sustainability performance of supposedly experimental cities such as Masdar City in Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong. His work has been used by the United Nations and the United Kingdom's Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to foresee future urban challenges and develop preventive policies.

Building upon his empirical research on AI, Federico has contributed to the development of the theory of autonomous urbanism. Other theoretical contributions include the concept of urban eco-modernisation, the notion of urban artificial intelligence, the development of urban equations and the critical theory of Frankenstein Urbanism.

Before joining Trinity College Dublin, Federico held positions at the University of Manchester, King's College London and the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

McCarroll Cian, Cugurullo Federico, Social implications of autonomous vehicles: a focus on time, AI & Society, (37), 2022, p791 - 800 Journal Article, 2022 DOI

Gaio, Alexander, and Federico Cugurullo, Cyclists and autonomous vehicles at odds: Can the Transport Oppression Cycle be Broken in the Era of Artificial Intelligence?, AI & Society, 2022 Journal Article, 2022 URL

Acheampong, R. A., Cugurullo, F., Gueriau, M., & Dusparic, I. , Can autonomous vehicles enable sustainable mobility in future cities? Insights and policy challenges from user preferences over different urban transport options, Cities, 112, 2021 Journal Article, 2021 DOI

Federico Cugurullo, Frankenstein Urbanism: Eco, Smart and Autonomous Cities, Artificial Intelligence and the End of the City, London, Routledge, 2021 Book, 2021 URL

Cugurullo Federico, Urban artificial intelligence: From automation to autonomy in the smart city, Frontiers in Sustainable Cities, 2, 2020, p1 - 14 Journal Article, 2020 URL

Yigitcanlar Tan and Federico Cugurullo, The sustainability of artificial intelligence: An urbanistic viewpoint from the lens of smart and sustainable cities, Sustainability, 12, (20), 2020, p8548- Journal Article, 2020 URL

Gueriau, Maxime and Cugurullo, Federico and Acheampong, Ransford A. and Dusparic, Ivana, Shared Autonomous Mobility-on-Demand: Learning-based approach and its performance in the presence of traffic congestion, IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Magazine, 2020 Journal Article, 2020 TARA - Full Text

Federico Cugurullo, Ransford Acheampong, Maxime Gueriau, Ivana Dusparic, The transition to autonomous cars, the redesign of cities and the future of urban sustainability, Urban Geography, 2020 Journal Article, 2020 DOI

Acheampong, R. A., & Cugurullo, F., Capturing the behavioural determinants behind the adoption of autonomous vehicles: Conceptual frameworks and measurement models to predict public transport, sharing and ownership trends of self-driving cars, Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 62, 2019, p349 - 375 Journal Article, 2019 URL

Federico Cugurullo, Exposing smart cities and eco-cities: Frankenstein urbanism and the sustainability challenges of the experimental city, Environmental and Planning A, 50, (1), 2018, p73 - 92 Journal Article, 2018 URL

Andrew Karvonen, Federico Cugurullo, Federico Caprotti, Inside Smart Cities: Place, Politics and Urban Innovation, Paperback, London, Routledge, 2018 Book, 2018

The Smart City imaginary: from the dawn of modernity to the eclipse of reason in, editor(s)Lindner C. and Meissner M , The Routledge Companion to Urban Imaginaries, London, Routledge, 2018, [Federico Cugurullo] Book Chapter, 2018

The story does not remain the same: multi-scalar perspectives on sustainable urban development in Asia and Hong Kong in, editor(s)Caprotti F. and Yu L. , Sustainable Cities in Asia, London, Routledge, 2017, pp[1-9] , [Federico Cugurullo] Book Chapter, 2017 URL

Frankenstein cities: (de)composed urbanism and experimental eco-cities in, editor(s)Evans J., Karvonen A. and Raven R. , The Experimental City, London, Routledge, 2016, [Federico Cugurullo] Book Chapter, 2016

Speed kills: fast urbanism and endangered sustainability in the Masdar City project in, editor(s)Datta A. and Shaban A. , Mega-Urbanization in the Global South: Fast Cities and New Urban Utopias of the Postcolonial State, London, Routledge, 2016, [Federico Cugurullo] Book Chapter, 2016

Federico Cugurullo, Urban eco-modernisation and the policy context of new eco-city projects: where Masdar City fails and why, Urban Studies, 53 , (11 ), 2015, p2417 - 2433 Journal Article, 2015 URL

Federico Cugurullo, The Business of Utopia: Estidama and the road to the Sustainable City, Utopian Studies, 24, (1), 2013, p66 - 88 Journal Article, 2013 URL

Federico Cugurullo, How to Build a Sandcastle: An Analysis of the Genesis and Development of Masdar City, Journal of Urban Technology , 20, (1), 2013, p23 - 37 Journal Article, 2013 URL

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Federico Cugurullo, Everyday Utopias: The Conceptual Life of Promising Spaces, Review of Everyday Utopias: The Conceptual Life of Promising Spaces, by Davina Cooper , Area, 46, (4), 2014, p448 Review, 2014 URL

Reconsidering Utopia and Dystopia: a matter of perception in, editor(s)Blaim A. and Gruszewska Blaim , Spectres of Utopia. Theory, Practice, Conventions, Oxford, Peter Lang, 2012, [Federico Cugurullo] Book Chapter, 2012

Research Expertise


Federico's latest strand of research investigates, empirically and theoretically, how the development of artificial intelligence is changing the development of cities. He is currently the Principal Investigator of Surpass, a project funded by the Irish Research Council, to study the urban sustainability potential of self-driving cars operated by AI:


ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE; autonomous vehicles; generative AI; HUMAN-ROBOT INTERACTION; new cities; Smart Cities



Associate Editor of Frontiers in Sustainable Cities 2019 - present

Member of the editorial board of Geotema 2018 - present

Reviewer for the European Commission of ERC Starting Grants and Advance Grants. 2020 - present

Research analyst, Cities Programme (United Nations) 2013-2014

Horizon scanner, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), United Kingdom Government 2014-2016

Awards and Honours

IRC Laureate Award September 2022

The Syllabus Book of the Week: Frankenstein Urbanism June 2021

Provost's PhD Project Award January 2020

New Horizons Interdisciplinary Research Award, Irish Research Council (220,000 euro), Principal Investigator, project title: Surpass - How shared autonomous cars will transform cities. December 2016

Plenary at the international winter conference of the Regional Studies Association November 2016

Recognizing and Rewarding Exceptional Performance (RREP) - University of Manchester June 2016

Italy Made Me Award (Social Sciences and Humanities Category), Best Italian early-stage academic working in the UK, Italian Embassy July 2015

European Union's Master and Back Postgraduate Scholarship (76,640 euro) October 2009


Global associate, Circles of sustainability (UN Global Compact Cities Programme; Metropolis) 2015 – present

Fellow, American Association of Geographers 2011 – present

Fellow, International Eco-Cities Initiative 2011 – present

Fellow, Royal Geographical Society 2009 – present